Polish Business Survey
Polish Business Survey
Stock market up
Monday s can be considered a successful day for stock market investors. Most share values went up as did turnover and demand. The only cause for concern is that a lot of this turnover was in two companies, Elektrim and PKN Orlen. Some analysts even consider that the WIG index could even hit 21,500 before long.
Baltona seeks extra capital
The Privatisation Agency has announced that it will sell the remaining 26.83 percent of Gdynia based Baltona until the first half of next year. The company is better known for its duty free shops from which it gets sixty percent of its income. Once Poland is in the EU these shops will no longer be permitted and the company is now developing a strategy for the next five years which will see an attempt to increase the capitalisation of Baltona together with full privatisation.
Joint steel investor proposed
One of the effects resulting from the never ending negotiations for the sale of the Huta Katowice steelworks could be a change in the government s strategy for the sale of the company. So far both the Italian Danieli together with the British-Dutch Corus Group have been talking to Polish representatives concerning the sale of the plant. A new programme to be analysed by the Council of Ministers suggests finding a joint investor for both Huta Katowice together with the Kraków based HTS steel works and a sale of the shares in the Cedler and Florian mills.
Interest in Hydrobudowa falling
Gdańsk based Hydrobudowa may have to wait even longer for privatisation. The company was originally slated for privatisation in the first half of this year but nothing happened. Following original announcements of its sale a number of companies showed an interest but today only Polimex-Cekop, Energopol and NCC are left. The company s results have been poor although management is now claiming that it is about to sign a big contract. The fifty percent of the shares earmarked for the private sector could well stay in the hands of the state for some time to come. The three companies still left in the stagnant race have all made offers that neither Hydrobudowa nor the Jupiter National Investment Fund found acceptable.
Marek Michałowski, MD of Budimex, one of the companies that dropped out of negotiations said that he is still talking to a number of companies in northern Poland but that he sees no future for Hydrobudowa. Wiesław Ochnik, MD of Hydrobudowa Gdańsk claimed that the company was going to get better results and is currently working on projects with a value of PLN85m. He says that it is neither a good, nor a bad moment to seek an investor.
EU funds Bydgoszcz sewage
The EU has finally launched the ISPA programme with EUR300m - EUR370m of funding for environmental protection and transport. One of the immediate beneficiaries is the Bydgoszcz water company who can expect a cheque for EUR33m in the next few days. Of the eleven proposed projects in Poland, only this found EU acceptance.
Warsaw paper sold
Michał Sołowow, owner of Echo Investment and Mitex, has bought the Warsaw daily Życie Warszawy for around USD9m. The Kielce based businessman now owns three local press titles whilst still claiming that he is not interested in building a media empire.
Concessions to be examined
This week the Communications Ministry is to examine 22 telephone concessions which have already been issued and are claimed to have legal faults. Should the ministry now accept that concessions were issued illegally it will have major implications for the fixed line telecommunications sector.
UMTS tender to wait
The government has claimed that it will only be able to consider taking bids for a concession for a UMTS telephone system next year or even in 2002. The reason it gives is that work is required on telecommunications law. Nonetheless Era, Polkomtel and Centertel are now working on a joint approach to this problem which will be presented tomorrow. The GSM system still has low penetration rates in Poland at around 14 percent when compared to neighbouring countries. The delay in announcing the UMTS concession would give Centertel, Plus and Era another two years to work on which wavebands this new system is to work. Analysts claim that the telecommunications law could easily be amended to allow for a new system, it all depends on the will of MPs. The question remains if it is more important for the government to rake in a pile of cash from issuing the licences or if the future of Polish telecommunications companies are to be considered. It could well be that foreign companies who do not have a presence in Poland as yet could seek to gain a foothold with a large bid.
Podpis: Alan Heath
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